The Silent Knight

A History of St. Joseph as Depicted in Art

$18.95

About this item

Images of St Joseph are ubiquitous in the modern Catholic devotional landscape with his statues and figurines standing sentinel in every church and creche, but this was not always the case. The husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus spent the first centuries of Christian art as a great absentee, unaccounted for in visual representations of Christ's birth and infancy.

The Silent Knight explores and chronicles the remarkable rise of Joseph's iconography through masterpieces by some of history's greatest artists. The first depictions of Joseph appeared in the fifth century, gradually evolving as the Church grew, accompanying the faithful through the vicissitudes of ecclesiastical history. Josephine imagery adapted at various times to provide inspirational role models for fathers, husbands, workers, the moribund, and even the pope, depending on the circumstances, leading to a striking variety of depictions in the history of art.

Each chapter of this book reveals a different facet of Joseph, contextualized in the history, spirituality, or controversy of the age, and demonstrates how artists applied their creative talents to communicate Joseph's intercessory power to their audiences. Through the words and prayers of Saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Bridget of Sweden, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, Pius IX, and John Paul II, readers will learn how devotion to Joseph expanded in both the breadth of his intercessory powers and his geographical area of influence, galvanizing painters and sculptors to produce fascinating innovations in his iconography.

This richly illustrated book will guide readers through a spectacular gallery of images by Raphael, Michelangelo, Murillo, Giotto, Caravaggio, El Greco, and more, illustrating how each one of these creative geniuses chose to highlight the increasing number of attributes ascribed to this silent saint. Written to celebrate the Year of St Joseph declared by Pope Francis, The Silent Knight aims to deepen the faithful's knowledge, appreciation, and devotion to this eminent Patron of the Universal Church through the extraordinary beauty that he has inspired.

Igor Babailov photo

"This book by Liz Lev is a fabulous insight into the story of St. Joseph, an inspiring ‘portrait in words’ of an iconic saint, a journey into the chronology of depictions of him in art throughout the centuries, and a passionate reminder of him as a timeless subject of divine inspiration to the artists of today."

Igor Babailov
Vatican Papal Artist
George Weigel photo

"No one helps us 'see' a painting, sculpture. mosaic, or tapestry quite like Elizabeth Lev, whose unique aesthetic insight brings the elusive St. Joseph vibrantly alive in this wonderful book."

George Weigel
Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Mons. Timothy Verdon photo

"In her accessible, conversational style Elizabeth Lev has brought together centuries of theological, devotional, and artistic reflection on St. Joseph, the foster father of Christ and chaste companion of the Virgin Mary, in a handsomely illustrated volume that students of Catholic culture will read with joy."

Mons. Timothy Verdon
Director, Florence Cathedral Museum
Steve Ray photo

"Not only rich with resplendent artwork, The Silent Knight is also replete with historical documentation and commentary. This will be a treasured volume for art lovers, theologians, scholars, novices and all who love a good read."

Steve Ray
CatholicConvert.com
  • Pages: 240
  • Format(s): Paperback, eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-64413-574-7
  • Product Code: 5747
  • Availability: In Stock
  • Publication Date: December 14, 2021
  • Categories: By Title, Saints and Angels, Upcoming Releases
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Published review from The Catholic Telegraph
https://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/book-review-the-silent-knight/80802
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Seeing St. Joseph in art
2021, the year dedicated to St. Joseph is enriched by The Silent Knight, the inspirational book by Liz Lev. She gives the reader St. Joseph through the depictions of art beginning in the early church. Not only does she help us understand, “Who was he?” or “What part did he play in the life of Jesus,” she also develops the fact that St. Joseph is an example for all families in today’s world. Her interpretive talent communicates to us a more tangible, more real and more relevant St. Joseph. Just as he supported Jesus and Mary, he is modern day reinforcement for all of us. The book is a captivating read filled with gorgeous art and insightful description of what the artists wanted to convey. Not only is this an art history book, it is a devotional book. The result is a renewed zeal to this important figure in the life of Jesus.
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Exhaustively thorough, piercingly insightful
On this feast of St. Joseph, I am moved to exclaim what a service this book provides to the universal Church. This is a work of art history on steroids: A thorough historical account, and so much more. As she describes his place in art movements throughout the ages, Lev teases out the variegated movements of the Holy Spirit with respect to St. Joseph in saints, prelates, and especially in artists. She discovers the movements of the heart behind the movements of the brush. Her book leads my soul first to appreciation, then to admiration, and then to "Go to Joseph!" as my intercessor, as the singular, accessible model of the conjugal and paternal life to which I am called. She awakens me to the reality that I can be what he was: "Joseph gives his toil, his fidelity, and his flawed humanity to his family, a model for domestic providers then and now."
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Truly wonderful!
Growing up in St. Augustine, Florida, the presence of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (a diocesan-rite congregation) was a given if one was Catholic. This group of sisters was a part of the fabric of life in the entire City, but their ministry as teachers in the Catholic schools of the area made them beloved. Thus, all of their students were given a devotion to Joseph, the Husband of Mary. On top of that, in the mid-1960s, the Cathedral of St. Augustine was renovated and a new shrine in honor of Saint Joseph was placed on the west wall of the nave. Its delft-like tiles told the story of the life of the foster-father of Jesus. As a boy, I loved this church which was my home parish and a devotion to St. Joseph was constantly fostered. I thought I knew all about the patron of the Universal Church. Then I read Liz Lev’s book, The Silent Knight. As she relates so well and so profoundly, the history of Joseph in the art of the Catholic imagination through the centuries has colored and tailored our understanding of and devotion to him. Liz is truly gifted as an art historian. She allows even a novice like me to enter into the world of art so that it can transform one’s vision and begin to “see” with eyes opened ever wider to the intention of the artist and the story of the subject. As a subject, Joseph may need no introduction to some, but his prominence has every possibility of helping one grow in their faith. Thus, this book is welcome for it focuses on a subject not often written or talked about and, yet, one whose presence in the life of Jesus’ childhood might help us to have a more a Gospel-inspired “childlike faith.”
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A fresh and beautiful way to encounter St. Joseph
In The Silent Knight, Elizabeth Lev uses her masterful gift of painting with words, to share images and revelations that inspire and enlighten her audience. She has assembled a photographically illustrated treasure trove of exquisite depictions of Saint Joseph. Many of these will be familiar to the reader, many more of them are rare, and likely never before seen. Together with Dr Lev's magnificent insights and reflections, this work is certain to uplift the reader to a greater understanding, and deeper appreciation of the virtuous Saint Joseph.
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